Which kind of gun owner are you?

By Steven Loos

Having spent a fair amount of my impressionable years shooting alongside my WW2 veteran grandfather, I was fortunate to have been taught early on the great responsibility that owning a firearm brings.

As far back as I can recall I have always understood owning a firearm had a deeper meaning. Later in life, and much to my surprise, I would come to understand that not all owners share this belief.

During Ohioans' struggle to pass common-sense concealed carry legislation, I had the good fortune to join in the fight as a volunteer. While continuing the good work of defending the Second Amendment alongside incredibly dedicated activists, I have interacted with many firearm owners.

Gun owners come from all walks of life. We may be politician, police officer or plumber. Statistically we are the most law-abiding segment of society. Interestingly, among the gun owning public, I've encountered three distinct kinds of gun owners. Although there are variations in each subset, what follows is in my opinion the general categories that most gun owners fall into:

  • The Casual Gun Owner
  • The Belligerent Gun Owner
  • The Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights

First, let's examine the Casual Gun Owner. Perhaps a majority of the estimated 80 million plus American gun owners fall into this group. Akin to the previously spotlighted apathetic gun owner, the Casual Gun Owner looks upon the firearm as simply a tool or object they own, not unlike a motorcycle or a set of golf clubs.

While this person may own one or several firearms, they might own a firearm for self defense or for hunting. To this person, the gun is a mere inanimate possession which they may hide the existence of from disapproving friends.

To the Casual Gun Owner their firearm has no deeper meaning or significance. He will support bans on modern semi-auto rifles or tightening regulations of handguns because it doesn't effect his sport. He may even join the NRA, and figure that's doing his part. However the moment owning a firearm becomes a burden or an inconvenience, the Casual Gun Owner will obediently turn them in. The powers-that-be need only demand them to do so.

Next up to bat is the Belligerent Gun Owner. These are the hot heads of the gun ownership demographic, who are more than happy to criticize others for not doing enough, while proclaiming at the top of their lungs their steadfast dedication and support to the cause of Second Amendment rights. They indeed talk the talk.

Typically the Belligerent Gun Owner spends his time complaining about the status quo, they are quick to attack the NRA or call others making progress "incrementalists", using the term like a dirty word. These folks often suffer from the "I got mine" mentality (i.e. "I've bought all the guns I need or want so I'm not worried about future anti-gun laws passing.") The Belligerent Gun Owner lavishes in pontificating on Internet forums, yet cannot be bothered to show up to hold a banner at a rally, write a letter to lawmakers or man a table at the gun shows.

One can often find Belligerent Gun Owner at the range telling others how it's done. On the rare occasion the Belligerent Gun Owner does get off of his couch and puts his foot in the door, he typically burns bridges with law-makers with his bombastic nature, shedding a bad light on all gun ownership. This individual can and does cause the most damage in the struggle to protect our ever disappearing liberties. He is the anti-gunners' poster boy.

Finally, we have arrived at the Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights. He may be a high-powered shooter at Camp Perry. She may be a concealed handgun license-holder. They may be sportsmen. What shooting activity they participate in is of no particular importance. The Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights works diligently with the knowledge the Second Amendment is constantly under attack. Having the understanding that our rights were chipped away over the decades, the Defender takes heart in the knowledge that she may not obtain the ultimate goal of total repeal of the unconstitutional infringements in one fell swoop. Yet he believes if we continue working, keep persisting, eventually gun rights will be restored to their rightful, tantamount position.

The Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights is who we have to thank for carrying the banner. They live the life and understand the deeper meaning of firearms ownership. Not only do firearms hold a pivotal place in American history, a tangible cultural significance, but greater still is their understanding that the Second Amendment is the linchpin of our American liberties.

As any true believer worth his salt knows, the Second Amendment doesn't say anything about hunting. I'm happy for you if you are a sportsman, but that just isn't what it's about. The Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights will join grassroots groups, write letters to law-makers and attend legislative hearings. She will politely speak up when uninformed acquaintances regurgitate the anti-gun sound bites from the late-night news shows. He will not feel content in sending his yearly dues to the NRA, but he will work to be an informed voter, and he will donate his time to train new shooters. What sets this person apart from the Casual Gun Owner is a passion to defend our rights for the next generation.

Take a moment to reflect. If you're reading this article and visiting this website, I assume you are an informed Dedicated Defender of Gun Rights. If you fall into the other camps or know someone that does, please look inside and ask yourself, what do you believe?

During these uncertain times, when the barbarians are at the gates, I ask: Which kind of gun owner are you?

Steven Loos is a Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Region Leader.

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